This Week's Fashion News and Advice:

On The Different Kinds of Shirt Cuffs

When it comes to dress shirts, a simpler way to increase your style range is to buy shirts with different styles – from various collars to diverse fittings to interesting cuffs.  In fact, adding shirts with unique cuffs offer a visual enhancement that accentuates your physical appearance. We dive into the world of shirt cuffs in order to display just how diverse these small shirt additions can really get.

Barrel cuffs

When purchasing department store shirts, you’ll notice that cuffs are traditionally attached with buttons. Although these generally come with single buttons, two or three buttons can also be found with these types of men’s dress shirts. Honestly, it’s no mystery why businessmen today choose plain barrel cuffs as opposed to fancier ensembles: they’re simply easier to maintain and adjust to one’s liking.  You may frequently hear these cuffs referred to as button cuffs, too.

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French cuffs

Designed without buttons, these cuffs are kept together with fancy cuff links or even silky knots.  While some fashion bloggers agree that these cuffs should be phased out, these cuffs are still popular among young professionals. Traditionally, these are worn by more affluent men, although anyone looking for that classier style could definitely benefit by wearing these.  In terms of size, these cuffs are roughly twice as long as barrel cuffs.

Turnback cuffs

You may hear these occasionally called James Bond cuffs (for obvious reasons). Strikingly similar in appearance to French cuffs, these fold then button for an incredible suave look. Since it’s not entirely necessary to wear department store dress shirts with cuff links, many men seem to be unaware that expensive shirts made with turnback cuffs can be accompanied with cuff links for added pizazz, although the cuff will be buttoned after folding anyway.  For a live look at these cuffs in action, check out James Bond’s Dr. No and pay close attention to his attire and see how it’s all in the cuff.

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Single Cuffs

Often confused with barrel cuffs, the single cuff is traditionally worn in formal settings and lacks the massive length of French cuffs.  These are normally fastened with white or black cuff links, although silver or gold would also spice up the shirts equally well.  Visiting other countries, you may notice formal dining environments will feature men with these cuff styles.

Choosing the best cuff

Choosing which cuff should be worn for professional careers, formal dining and other occasions can be a daunting task with so many options available, but a few important factors can narrow the field.  First, take into account how long or short your arms are; although you’ll probably have your shirts tailored to fit your arms, it’s always good to avoid cuffs that may expose too much wrist or forearm.

Also, consider whether you’ll wear jackets with your shirts; this will help determine which style would show through your jacket sleeve or not.  Finally, always buy the shirt cuff before the cuff link and not the reverse since gold, white and black are rather neutral and can match nearly any cuff you desire.

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Patterns Plus Prints: Pulling It Off!

Anyone who happens to glance up from their cellphone and take a look at fellow travelers on the subway or shoppers at the mall will notice that most people tend to steer well clear of busy patterns and prints when deciding what to wear. The majority will opt for a much simpler style. The inclination to avoid drawing attention to themselves is stopping people from experimenting with pattern and print, and, let’s face it, it is so easy to get it wrong; but having the confidence to include some well-placed patterned pieces in one’s closet can demonstrate a lively personality and create a unique and original look.

What makes pattern and print work for some and not for others? Well, following a few simple rules can make a world of difference.

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Planning

Supplementing a wardrobe with a palette of bold colors, patterns and prints sounds straightforward, but if not well planned, the new look could easily become overpowering or even gaudy. There is a fine line between an outfit that causes an interested stir and one that crashes loudly into the party and will not be silenced at any cost. It is all too easy to make the mistake of combining two very bold patterns or prints with clashing color schemes. No one actually wants to look as though they threw something on during a power failure. Thus even the most relaxed look requires careful planning to make it work.

Choose patterns 

The key to making patterns complement each other is to stick to the same color schemes in both patterns or pick out one color that is common to both. The effect is very subtle but still shows off a sense of adventure in the wearer. That said, a pattern of basic black and white stripes will go with just about anything, even gray, navy blue and brown. Moreover, although there may or may not be any science behind it, certain patterns and prints just balance each other. Those who are looking to show off their more frivolous side might try combining floral patterns or leopard print with either stripes or polka dots – it just works.

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Scale matters

Anyone creating a look, which incorporates patterns and prints, must be sure to achieve balance by varying the scale of the patterns that are combined. Marrying a medium to large scale with a small-scale pattern will work, as will a dense print combined with a much sparser pattern. Putting together two or more small prints can have the effect of making the ensemble look incredibly busy. However, two prints of a similar scale can work if cleverly broken up by way of a solid color such as a wide belt, plain waistband or jacket. It is always worth remembering to be clever with accessories; they can be used to separate prints. It is vital, though, to keep accessories in check so that they don’t draw the attention away from the ensemble. 

Matchmaking

Most people of a certain age have attended enough weddings and formal occasions to have learnt from experience that it can be a mistake to match too well. Anyone sporting matching prints on the head and the feet looks as though they are trying a little too hard to adhere to the fashion rules. It shows little adventure and is painfully predictable. Moreover, those who swathe themselves in the same pattern from head to foot are ill-advised unless they are aiming to resemble a cheap caricature. Nevertheless, repeating the same pattern in a different color can work extremely well and result in a fresh and exciting look.

Neutrals

Certain prints have a neutral effect, despite being patterned, so that they can be treated as solids when combining pieces. Classic and understated tweed pants fool the eye so that the fine pattern looks like a solid color – hence it blends well with pretty much any printed pieces. Equally, a fine hound’s tooth skirt sandwiched between brightly patterned tights or socks and a floral shirt can be a triumph. Indeed, the same goes for fine polka dots or thin stripes, so there is much more to choose from when breaking up patterned pieces.

Bigger prints may be worn on parts of the body that might require volume; so slim hips may be accentuated with bigger patterns. In fact, mixing patterns can serve the purpose of empowering the wearer, while at the same time adding or indeed reducing width. Wearing printed fabrics can actually do a great job at shaping the body – and who doesn’t have days when they need that?

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Shopping For a Big and Tall Man: A Tall Order?

Most women can say with relative certainty that their men would rather watch football or do anything else rather than shop for clothing. Sometimes the job of finding new clothes is now the woman’s. With online coupons, in-store specials and so many different brands to select from, it’s easy to get confused or flustered when shopping for men. When shopping for men of larger stature this task may seem even more daunting as not all styles and sizes are readily available.

Shopping for taller or bigger men may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.

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Sizing them up

When shopping for big and tall men’s clothing, make sure you’re looking for the right size; the right size does not necessarily mean oversize. Take his measurements accurately in order to find garments that properly fit his stature, yet leave some breathing room; you don’t want the clothes fitting to tightly in certain areas. Add an inch to pant lengths or maybe 1 size higher than their measured chests.  You don’t need their buttons popping off during important events.

The challenging aspect of shopping for gentlemen of larger statures is finding the same styles their shorter or smaller counterparts can easily find at any men’s store. Don’t get discouraged, many stores offer clothing made specifically for the big and tall man without compromising style.

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Go for the autumn look

A change in weather consequently makes individuals change what they put on. Unlike during summer where one may wear light clothes, in autumn you can expect warm clothing and more layers.  Autumn looks can be achieved for men of any size. When temperatures dip, personal style should not.

Many autumn colors work well in various months outside of September.  Bigger men, depending on skin tone, may favor orange or autumn brown even in the summer or winter months.  Overall, when shopping for big and tall men’s clothing, don’t be fooled by seasonal trends because some colors are evergreen, such as pastels.

Avoid brick and mortar?

One of the prime reasons why people turn to online shopping is because it’s easy and hassle free. Simply select the styles you like without leaving the comfort of your own home. Buying big and tall menswear from a regular brick and mortar shop can be time consuming especially if you’re standing at the store during ‘happening’ times of year, like the beginning of school. Just getting in can be a feat that you probably may never accomplish without having to stand for an hour.  Of course, while shopping online is now ‘default’ for many, be wary of knockoffs.

Ralph Lauren designs and manufactures some of the trendiest men’s clothing today. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff labelled as being manufactured by Ralph Lauren are actually knockoffs. The Polo big pony is one shirt that is consistently being sold for around $20 and labelled as being discounted off the original.  If you’re looking for authentic brand names don’t trust any website. Always shop trusted sites where the brand names are what they claim to be –it’s not too hard to assimilate knockoffs from $100 shirts these days.

It may appear bigger men would be a taller shopping task, yet knowing their personality and skin tone, to name a few, would go much further.  Moreover, shopping online may seem quicker, yet always look for authentic menswear – even if that means calling the corporate office to verify their brands.

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Different Kinds of Stones to Mount on a Wedding Band

Women have been wearing wedding bands for several centuries, although today’s selection favors a more eclectic woman. Individuals have long appreciated the excellent qualities of various stones due to the distinct advantages it offers over plain bands. No matter what kind of jewelry you have, you can more than likely find a stone for your wedding band that suits you.

This article will discuss several types of stones you could mount atop your favorite silver, gold, platinum or titanium band.  Note: we failed to mention diamonds since many of these are combined with diamonds, or just look better as standalone stone settings.
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Sapphires

Many centuries ago, receiving the gift of sapphire stones meant you’ve been endowed with the trust and loyalty of another. It is from this tradition that sapphire gemstones have long been a popular choice for wedding bands or engagement rings often purchased decades ago, and even still today. Whether you’re fascinated by something lavish for everyday wear or want something to accentuate your clothing for special events, you’ll never fail with sapphire stones.  Because of its almost mesmerizing blue hue, sapphire gemstones have been frequently used during the course of history by magicians and clergymen.

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Rubies

Corundum, once refined, makes two distinct types of gemstones: sapphire, and ruby.  The latter is, of course, more sought after because of its fine reddish appearance and how it looks next to S2 or better diamonds.  Derived from the Latin word ‘ruber’ (red), high ranking aristocrats and kings often wore ruby jewelry to signify their position across the kingdom they reigned in.   Today, you’ll find silver and gold bands adorned with ruby and diamond stones because the combination is too stunning to pass up.

Emerald

Owning emeralds, as discovered in our research, often symbolizes renaissance and the abundance of the life force. With a richly emanating greenish hue, bearers of such stones often reminisce the regeneration of life inspiring hope of new marriages, second chances and having eternal love enriched by God’s glory. Of all  types of jewelry stones we researched, emeralds are perhaps the more indicative of wedding vows.  Every emerald bears an inspiring story that only its wearer can describe, making the gift of emerald heirlooms perhaps better than any amount of cash.

Topaz

If you’re wondering which gemstone never falls out of style and accentuates all skin tones, look no further than topaz.  From blues to reds, this more affordable gemstone looks stunning next to high class diamonds.  Wearing topaz in pendants, rings or tennis bracelets can bring out more garment color than your diamond jewelry, although many feel white stones bring out more ‘bling’.  Elegant women understand that topaz gemstones each carry symbols of beauty unique to its wearer.

Diamonds are, by default, what today’s woman wants adorning her ring finger.  However, you will find a growing demand for nostalgic looks that only emeralds, rubies, topazes and sapphires bring.  Try the different colors when visiting your jewelry store, and see which one brings out the best in you.

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5 Tips for Packing for a Fall Weekend Getaway

The leaves are turning, the weather is cooler and you’re taking off for a weekend getaway. But your closet is still full of summer shorts and t-shirts. Not sure what to pack for that three day, two night trip? Let us make it easy for you with a quick five point guide to dressing smart while fitting everything into a carryon or weekend bag.

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1. Chinos are the perfect fall casual pant. Choose classic tan chinos or navy for an easy, laidback look that can be dressed up for an evening out.

2. Sport coats are an absolute lifesaver. Seriously, don’t even think about leaving home without one. A sport coat or blazer is the perfect way to style up a casual look, provide a place to hold your keys, wallet and mobile phone and add a touch of sartorial savvy to a relaxed weekend. We suggest the Navy Windowpane Blazer. Comfortable and versatile, it works well with chinos, jeans and slacks.

3. A dress shirt, two Polo or Henley tees and a pullover will get you through every event, gathering or activity you have planned. Wear the dress shirt with slacks and a blazer for Friday night dinner. Choose a lighter colored Polo with slacks for that early Saturday morning round of golf. The Henley works well with jeans and a cardigan or sweater vest for Sunday lunch.

4. Sneakers and a semi casual pair of shoes or boots. Choose quality leather for the shoes and make sure they are comfortable, polished and (mostly) odor free. Wrap shoes in a shower cap or plastic bag when packing.

5. Don’t forget the Dopp Kit! Also called a shaving kit, the Dopp Kit is really a bag within a bag that carries all the personal grooming essentials – shampoo, shaving cream, razor, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, nail clippers, condoms, aftershave, hair gel, chapstick, comb – you will need. Whether you’re going fishing, to the mountains or visiting family, stay clean shaven and well groomed easily with all the right pieces in one place.

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And the winner is…

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… Cassandra! Who told us this tale in her comment-entry to the KeySmart 2.0 contest:

I forgot my keys and had to throw rocks for an hour at my boyfriend’s window. He finally heard after he got out of the shower but I couldnt even knock on the door because our apartment has a gate around it…

Congrats, and good luck next time to everyone else!

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Fashion at 2014 Comic-Con in San Diego

There are all kinds of occasions when celebrities walk the red carpet like movie premiers, award ceremonies, and charity events. Recently, during July 24-27, one of the huge annual events took place: Comic-Con San Diego. It is a celebration of the art of comics and all things associated with the characters and stories.

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This year at Comic-Con there were some very stylish looks to grace the red carpet. First off are two of the stars from the popular TV series Grimm: David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch. David is sporting a charcoal grey, double breasted window pane plaid suit with an open-neck white button-down that is sharp, but still understated. Bitsie looks elegant in her spaghetti strap evening gown with the gold accents and the diagonal stripe for interest.

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Next, is actress Holland Roden from the TV series Teen Wolf. Holland is rocking one of the hot trends of this season: Jumpsuits. Her slim figure is perfect for the cut of the black fabric jumpsuit and the contrasting chest panel gives the illusion of a plunging neckline, without the fuss. Her sleek hairstyle and her golden metallic clutch just add the perfect accents Holland’s look.

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Last, but not least, was actor and playwright Nelson Ellis arriving at Comic-Con San Diego. Nelson and his friend are all about color. Two trending colors this season are green and wine. Nelson’s green patterned button-down is paired with a deep teal green pair of trousers and he uses brown as an accent color in his fedora, bow tie, belt, and shoes. His friend’s wine colored pants is a bold choice and is set off by the crisp white shirt with black accessories of his tie and loafers.

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